How to Recover from Burnout

SherlockBoredAs many of you are aware, I like my routine, but something about it recently has created the side effect of “burnout”.  I’ve had little motivation to do much beyond what is absolutely necessary, and even those things have taken great effort.

I’ve been tired.  I don’t feel compelled to write anything.  I haven’t done those responsible things you’re supposed to as a grown up, and it sort of came out of nowhere.

I feel that some of the blame can be placed on the vicarious living I’ve been doing through books and gaming, even my own stories.  All these characters are having adventures, meeting new people, and are seeing amazing sights, while I sit on my butt.  The other day at work, it was yet another slow night and I was writing notes for my fanfiction when the cook asked me if I was writing about my own life.

I couldn’t help but laugh, like a big hearty laugh.

I told him I write fantasy and science fiction, so that didn’t really apply, and then I waved my hand about the bar/restaurant as an explanation.  This is my life, well, my working life any way, and it blows.

We moved back to a city I don’t like to get back on our feet, and all we’ve done is struggle.  I was unemployed in LA for two years, and since taking this current job a year ago, all I’ve done is job hunt, so I feel like I’ve been perpetually searching and sending out resumes for a good job (to no avail) forever.  This in turn affects my writing.

I think it’s this cycle that has caused the burnout.  I’m just frustrated and bored with my life.

Falkor2014Luckily, I do have one thing to look forward to, and it couldn’t be more timely, Gishwhes is upon us.

The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen begins tomorrow morning.  This will be the fourth year The Sis and I take part on Team Falkor.  It is a crazy week of creative endeavors, acts of kindness, nearly impossible tasks, and sometimes utter nonsense that brings together a group of people from around the world with one purpose – to make a change – for ourselves and for others.

So, what does this have to do with recovering from burnout?

The routines we rely on, the normal day to day that sometimes wears us down is something we occasionally need a break from.  This is why vacations are so important for overall well being – they tend to relieve all those internal and external pressures we put upon ourselves and bring us back to our equilibrium while reinvigorating our passions.

But…sometimes we are constrained by our circumstances, and yet we need to find avenues we can explore that inspire and invigorate us.  Gishwhes, for me, is the perfect example of that.  It’s challenging and creative, makes you think outside the box, and for the most part, costs very little to be a part of.  Also, the feelings of creativity, inspiration, and kindness last long after the hunt is over.

I’ve been trying to find inexpensive means of enjoying things in my current city, and you’d be surprised what you can do as a local.  Often times museums, shows, even restaurants offer special deals for locals.  Some movie theaters offer specials on a certain day of the week – here in Vegas we have $5 Tuesdays.  Some communities offer a number of free events through the county government, the library, or the arts district, you just have to do a little searching.

It’s no vacation to a tropical island or London, but it’s a step in the direction of doing something different.

If you’d like to a little break from the monotony, and maybe escape the threat of burnout, Team Falkor is always looking for unofficial team members.  Sometimes, an item calls for a specific landmark somewhere in the world, or the use of technology most of us don’t have access to, or something so random we have no idea how we’ll accomplish it, and yet, you could be the answer.

Next week will be a little unconventional, so keep an eye out for the unusual requests, and if you’d like to help, let me know, and join me in saying goodbye to burnout!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Writing Prompt #89

I was at a bit of a loss as to which image to share for a Writing Prompt today.  I scrolled through hundreds of images, not finding myself drawn to any one picture in particular.

And then I saw this:

Crowd

I’m not sure what exactly is drawing me to this image, but I found myself scanning the crowd…

What do you think?  Are you inspired to join me in this week’s Writing Prompt Challenge?

Happy Writing!

*Art by Craig Mullins

Quote Monday

On my days off, I had planned to write a couple of blog posts, but instead I did some cleaning, I applied for yet more jobs, started a rewrite, and did lots of reading.  Lots and lots of reading.

It was nice to give over half a day to the enjoyment of a good book.  I haven’t done that in a while.  So my apologies for a lack of interesting things this past week.  I’ll do my best to make up for it!

I saw this quote and felt it was apropos, and yet, I do not regret my time invested in reading.  It’s really research for a writer.😉  I do sometimes find myself wasting time and energy on things I know I shouldn’t, so this is a helpful reminder:

Price

Have a great week everyone!  Keep striving towards those goals!

Writing Prompt #88

I’m a romantic at heart.  Despite what I may say randomly in other posts, I do love a happy ending, and it’s a big part of what I write.  There’s enough negative in the world.  Not wishing my stories to only be filled with fluff, there’s usually something else going on.

My Dragon Age fanfic, on the other hand, is pure fluff.  It didn’t start off that way, but because I’m having so much fun writing it, it gets the “I can do whatever I want” treatment.  And I’ve been writing a lot of it lately, so I sort of giggled when I saw this, and decided it’s the perfect Prompt to help me escape my current state of mind:

NoTime4Romance

What do you think?  Feel inspired to join me in this week’s challenge?

Happy Writing!

Quote Monday

When I started this blog, I wanted to have a clear focus as to what I wanted it to be.  I wanted to share my journey towards becoming a professional writer, I wanted to help other writers find inspiration and useful advice, and I wanted to share a few of the things I get excited about…you know, my geek side.

I did not want this to be a platform to share political, societal, or religious ideology.  I may be frustrated at the state of things, but I always want this to be a place for creatives to escape to, so to speak, a place of positivity and encouragement for the creative path we have been called to follow.

As writers, we hold a great deal of power, and it is with that voice we can do great things!  Use them wisely.😉

*It is in light of everything, events in my own life and those surrounding us (and in spite of my earlier comments), that this rang true:

Persevere

I wish you all the very best in both your “real” life and creative one.

xx, Rach

*Updated multiple times because, despite being a writer, I could not find the right words to express my feelings correctly…

A Rambling Review: Les Revenants (aka The Returned)

LesRevenants

I love any show or film that keeps you guessing after it’s over.  Days later, you find yourself still wondering what some things meant and still have some pretty big questions.  The French supernatural drama, Les Revenants aka The Returned is just this type of show.

Currently contained within two seasons of just 16 episodes, with no talks of a third season, you will find partial closure and yet be left with that open ended feeling knowing there are no answers to be found.  At least not yet, if ever.  It’s one of those rare gems that lets you ponder its meaning – something I consider very French.

I’m not sure how I discovered the show initially, I think it was recommended by someone I follow somewhere, and I’m glad to have found it, although the wait between seasons was unbearable at over two years.  Both seasons are now available on Netflix.

The story is based on the 2004 film They Came Back, and is about the return of a small town’s deceased residents for no apparent reason.  They don’t all return at the same time, and many of them died at different times throughout the years, leaving the townspeople and their loved ones confused and frightened.

JulieVictor

They don’t look like zombies.  They don’t even look dead.  They don’t bear any marks of how they died and many of them have memory issues depending on how long they’ve been gone, so they’re just as confused.  It makes for an interesting story to see how some of them are welcomed back to their lives while some are not.

Then there is the trouble with the town’s dam.  The entire first season I remember looking at the water and thinking, “What’s really going on in there?”

It’s hard not to go into too much detail with only 16 episodes and four “families” primarily to follow.  This review could easily be much longer, but I want to keep all the mystery alive (pun intended?).  :)

With so much to watch nowadays, I’ve become rather picky with which shows I stick with and which I give up.  If a show doesn’t grab me within the first few episodes, I don’t want to waste my time.  I know I’ll get flack for this, but I couldn’t get into Breaking Bad or, more recently, Daredevil – two shows loved by nearly everyone I know.  You may find the pacing of The Returned a bit slow initially, but that is part of the magic of this series in particular.  You get to see quiet moments in these people’s lives, and because of that, you feel you understand some of the characters better.

The Returned has an American spinoff that was airing nearly simultaneously and I don’t understand why.  This is one aspect of the Hollywood system that baffles me.  Why was creating a new show based on a current show necessary?  Are subtitles too difficult or cumbersome for the American audience?  Besides, the American version was cancelled after one season.  So no closure for you guys.

I hope for a third season because I would love to see a bit more of this story and its people, and get some answers to those questions still rattling around, but if that doesn’t happen, we can feel some of that unsettling closure that comes with foreign film.

Have you seen the show?  Or its American counterpart?  What are your thoughts?  I’d really love to discuss some of my theories, so join me in the comments!

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #19

If you’ve been thinking about joining in the Writing Prompt fun, don’t be shy.  Jump in and join us!

I’ve been focused on my pilot and fanfic for the past few weeks, keeping to the schedule I set for myself, but I decided to stop lollygagging and write some flash fiction as well this week.

A new follower, Rinnah of Rinnah’s Place, decided to join me last week in the challenge and I am pleased to share her lovely words.

UnderTheSea

I Let Them In

I let them in, all these people now trampling over my emotions; it was I who let them in, so I can’t blame anyone. Or can I?

They said they wanted to come in or did they?

Well, at least they asked me how I was doing. And I answered them.

You see, up till now, I had perfected the art of politeness and only engaging in superficial dialogue. It seemed to serve me and the world around me well.

I would only tell people for example that I wasn’t feeling too well when they asked me where I had been for the past couple of days. I wouldn’t tell them that my blood sugar had shot to insane levels, and I’d started to feel sick and be sick; that I had developed all the symptoms of a flu without the cold and had passed out in the hospital reception when I went to see the doctor; I wouldn’t tell them that the doctor had told me I had developed diabetic ketoacidosis and warned me to stop risking my life by not taking my insulin shots while gorging myself on sugary foods.

I would say that I had a touch of the flu and decided to rest it out. It was better than trying to explain. Moreover, it wouldn’t be letting them in.

I would only smile and say, “it’s a good day after all” when they asked me why I was so excited. I wouldn’t tell them that I had won the first prize in the competition I felt I had no chance at; I wouldn’t tell them that I could now afford to pay the deposit for a house; I wouldn’t tell them that to my knowledge no one in my family had ever owned their own house. I wouldn’t tell them I had broken the jinx.

Last week I told one of them something. By the water cooler, I let out a truth close to my heart, and today I heard two near-strangers talking about matters that came from the depths of my being.

They asked me how I was doing and for once, for some reason, I decided I would tell them.

I did, and this is what I get: My innermost thoughts splashed across the invisible pages of the office tabloids.

Thank you again, Rinnah!

~*~

I should call these stream of consciousness fics as I don’t think them through and I hardly edit.  This is one of the only times I don’t stress over every word.  It’s nice.

UnderTheSeaPlay Time

I had heard their gentle knocking for some time, but the warmth of my bed continued to lull me into that semi-conscious state of euphoric bliss. There was no knowing if five minutes had passed or five hours. I danced a fine line between the dream world and the waking one, wishing there was something more to be found there. I couldn’t grasp the thread of the pleasant dream that I had been reluctant to leave, but with the sunbeams rippling in strange patterns about my room, I knew I could no longer ignore the beginnings of a new day.

I opened the window to find my friends in a spirited mood, swimming to and fro, talking in excited tones. Something was happening beyond our peaceful shoal, and they were eager for me to join them.

My Way (HoodedFigure)The Long Walk

She had always loved the early morning; the mist that hung heavy in the air, the silence that lingered while the world still slept. Fall was upon them.  The leaves had turned their lovely shade of red and had fallen from the trees in pools of rosy splendor. She would purposefully walk amidst them just to hear the soft crunch beneath her feet. She generally awoke before everyone else – it was her time to enjoy her land, her time to enjoy the little things that most people took for granted.

Today was unlike most days. Today she walked with purpose, without paying much attention to those things that usually brought her joy. The mist went unnoticed, the silence, unheard, the crunch of the fallen leaves, ignored. Only the rhythmic beat of her heart, which had a unique sound of its own, was what she heard this morning as she walked the path of the sacrificial lamb.

ShortPrompt

One Small Step…

“Short? Short?” He exclaimed out of breath.

“I thought so.” The other replied nonchalantly.

“By no means was that a short jump. Look at my legs. You thought I could clear it?”

“You did.”

“Barely.”

“C’mon. Just one more.”

“Tell me the truth. What’s it look like?”

The other one looked over the ledge that stood between them and their exit. “It’s just a short jump.” He smirked.

“I hate you.”

TheGirlinRedThe Fourth

In the final days it was said that the horsemen would ride across the earth, bringing with them the scourges that would rid the world of the unworthy. What they didn’t say, or perhaps didn’t know, was that they were already living among us. A delusional state to be in, to be sure. How could one, otherwise, account for the degree of Pestilence, Famine, and War?

The stories had been altered over time, of course – human nature’s vanity changing details to suit their own purposes. It was their way of putting those seen as their subordinates in place, among so many other fallacies declared on the Maker’s behalf. So it was no wonder they were so taken aback when Death finally made her appearance. The unavoidable. The last truth. She stood at the center of her storm, admiring her work, without having placed her hand upon her blade.

~*~

Happy Writing, my friends!

Writing Prompt #87

I need to get back to writing some flash fiction myself.  So if you think it’s too late to write a piece based on something you’ve seen here before…think again.

Come write with me!

Here’s this week’s Writing Prompt:

UnderTheSea

I look forward to seeing your creations!

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

I’ve been told to lower my expectations.  They are generally fairly high.

I’ve surprised people with my vocabulary, because a person in the food service industry can’t be educated?

I’ve been playing video games since they were practically invented, and yet I still get sideways glances when I say I’m a gamer, because, you know, girls don’t play video games.  Okay.

We are all a mixture of contradictions and we should be proud of who we are.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise or stand in the way of your dreams.

Don'tDumbYourselfDown

This quote can also be used in regards to our writing.  Write the story you want to tell and there will be people out there that get it and admire you for putting it out into the world.

Wishing you the very best in all your endeavors!

Why Are Series Endings So Hard to Get Right?

HappyilyEverAfterThis post is in regards to shows that know they’re coming to a close, not shows that are cancelled mid-season or not renewed thereby leaving us with a wonderful cliffhanger to ponder for the rest of eternity, or dozens of unanswered questions that will haunt us on our death beds.

After watching the series finale of Dexter, way back in 2014, I wrote a rant.  You can read it here in its entirety, but what it boiled down to was giving the audience a “satisfying” ending while staying true to the characters.

You may be wondering why I’m on another rant.  I’ve finished a few shows recently, all terrible endings, and it got me wondering:

“Why can’t I get a satisfying end?”

*Be forewarned, there will be spoilers ahead for shows Dexter, True Blood, and Lost Girl!  

Let’s take a look at Dexter.

This one still bothers me, years later.  After some time recollecting on Dexter as a character, I don’t think his character arc found justice in the end.  Dexter was an amazing character to watch grow into a fully realized human – something he didn’t think he was capable of.  After all that time invested, on both sides, to leave him on his own in some podunk town without his family, no less?  Nope.  Wrong.

What would have made a satisfying ending for a serial killer?  Well, clearly there’s a moral gray area here.  Dexter, generally, killed people according to his code, does that mean he should walk free?  Not exactly, but it’s a show.  We watch it for entertainment value, not reality.  I wanted to see him reunite with his son and the woman he loved.  Simple as that.

Then there was True Blood.

True Blood ended in 2014 and I was an avid viewer of the show.  About three episodes into the final season, they killed a character off in such a way, I was turned off completely from finishing the show.  Two years later, finally having access to HBO again, The Sis and I decided to finish it.

What a let down.

From episode one on, Sookie is generally at the center of whatever conflict is happening, but they wrapped the show up in a nice little bow as if nothing bad would ever happen again.  We’ve had 7 seasons of crazy, people.  So what, it was like, they’ve done there time and have earned their peaceful Thanksgiving dinner?  Please.

They killed off a main character, they let another character revert to his old ways, and then, to top it all off, they gave Sookie that normal life everyone thought she deserved – pregnant by a faceless human husband.  She never dated a human in the entirety of the show because (I want to shout) she can hear their thoughts.

So what would have been a more satisfying ending, you might wonder?  Well, first of all, they should have listened to their characters.  Don’t send them on these unique journeys, only to put them right back at the beginning.  We didn’t hit the refresh button.  What I wanted, was to see these characters 20 years down the road.  It’s a vampire show.  There’s longevity involved.

Finally, there’s Lost Girl.

This Canadian import had a unique premise, and although I felt there was so much more they could’ve done with the show, it was a fun watch.  The show’s premise was the all-encompassing world of fae, centering on the character of Bo, a succubus, who uses her power to help human and fae alike as a sort of detective/champion.  The show was episodic, but had an overall theme each season.

After multiple seasons with hints to her power, we were treated to about 5 mins in the series finale of her going nuclear, but not quite all the way, and then they wrap it up a short time in the future.

Another let down.

As the fae on the show live for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, I would’ve really liked to see these characters in the future, not just hinting at an old foe just recently beaten.  Bo was in love with two people on the show, Lauren, a human, and Dyson, a shifter.  Dyson’s character could love others, but could only truly give his heart to one person, and he chose Bo.  Bo chose Lauren in the end.  As human lives are relatively short in comparison, I would’ve liked to have seen a reunion of Bo and Dyson in the future.  He was a wonderful character, and I feel he should’ve received his happily ever after too.

I’m not looking for just “happily ever afters”, but I am looking for satisfying endings.  As TV shows go, I understand there are multiple writers and that stories progress in different ways as seasons continue, but in these examples, I’m not sure they did right by their characters.

What do you think?  Did you like any of these endings?  What other shows annoyed you with their finales?  Which shows ended well?

I’ve been thinking about this in regards to my own original series I’ve been working on, wondering what would be the most satisfying finale.  I may not be in control of that in the end, and that sort of makes me nervous, but it doesn’t mean I can’t hope for the best.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!